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RPG Item: Matters of Vengeance
Electronic Version
Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
Year: 2003
Electronic (PDF, DOC, eBook, HTML, etc.)
15 pages
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From Publisher's website:

It is said that the loss of love can drive men mad, but in this new adventure by Darrin Drader, it results in a search for vengeance that spans more than 200 years. Can the PCs stop the man whose hate has turned him into a death knight before he takes his final revenge? Drop this free online adventure for D&D v3.5 by Darrin Drader into any area that features a small village in close proximity to a manor house and forest. Suitable for four 15th-level characters.

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Ombrol Losladan was born in the small village of Three Forks to an honest peasant family. As a child, he made friends with a girl named Taryn Bistimmer, who was nearly his age. As the two children grew older, their friendship blossomed into romance, and they began to court. Their love was a simple one, uncomplicated by jealousy or parental expectations. But they were poor, so Ombrol knew he must make his fortune before claiming Taryn as his bride. On his sixteenth birthday, he pledged his undying love for his lady fair and gave her his family locket as a promise to return and marry her. Then he left the village to join the militia in a nearby city.

During his absence, Taryn's family fell on hard times. Several seasons of poor crops put the family deeply into debt. Taryn's father died of a wasting disease, and to keep their home, her mother had to grant her only daughter's hand in marriage to the local baron, an older man named Kaiius Holden. Thus, when Ombrol returned home six years later as a decorated soldier, he found that his one true love was already married, though the childless union did not seem to be a happy one.

Instead of returning to the city, Ombrol stayed on to help his family, since his parents were growing old and could no longer farm the fields as they once had. Meanwhile, he kept a silent watch on Baron Holden's manor and pined for Taryn. His love for her drove him to obsession, and he began to keep track of the times that Taryn left for the village. Eventually, Ombrol worked up the courage to approach her in the market.

Their meeting was brief, and what Taryn said unsettled Ombrol, worsening his already fragile mental state. Baron Holden was a cold man who was interested only in his own happiness and comfort. His youth had long been over, and their marriage was a loveless one. Worse yet, she constantly feared for her own safety, since all of the guards answered to him and gave her little regard. Taryn longed to return to her one true love, but breaking away from the baron would place the two lovers and both their families in grave danger. When their rushed conversation was over, Ombrol sullenly watched Taryn leave,

Over the next two months, the former lovers met in secret on several occasions. Each time, their separation weighed more heavily upon them. Ultimately, Ombrol decided to take action. Donning his armor and sword once more, he pledged his services to the baron so that he could be closer to his beloved Taryn. Baron Holden accepted Ombrol's pledge of loyalty and placed the young soldier in his personal guard.

By this time, Ombrol was well aware of the baron's schedule, and he often found excuses to stay behind while the baron went hunting or walked among his people. Ombrol and Taryn sometimes managed to sneak away together in the baron's absence. Ultimately, however, another guard caught them trysting, subdued Ombrol by force of arms, and took him prisoner. Left shackled in the dungeon to wait for the baron's return, Ombrol bemoaned his fate. But his lady love was a resourceful woman, and she managed to obtain the keys to his cell and his manacles from one of the guards. Sneaking into the dungeon, she let herself into his cell and unshackled him. Knowing that both of them would face the baron's wrath if they stayed, the two lovers fled the manor on horseback.

The baron and his men scoured the nearby woods for his wayward wife and his treacherous guardsman, and their trail was quickly found. The baron's men set up an ambush for the pair along a wooded roadside and fell upon Ombrol and Taryn as they passed through. Ombrol was quick to rise to his lady's defense, but Baron Holden's forces had the advantage of superior numbers. Though Ombrol fought furiously, dispatching several of the guards who had once trusted him as one of their own, the baron finally ended the battle by firing a bolt through his wife's heart. She died in Ombrol's arms. After watching the life fade from her eyes, Ombrol offered no resistance as the baron's guards chained him and returned him to the manor.

For years Ombrol prayed for death as he wasted away in Holden's dungeon. He mourned his lost Taryn, but his grief slowly gave way to a cold anger. During his long incarceration, Ombrol plotted how he would kill the baron. In the end, however, Kaiius Holden simply disappeared. Though his loyal retainers spent months searching for him, he was never found. When they finally gave up on finding the baron alive, the guards freed Ombrol. They bore him no ill will for what he had done, and they didn't wish to see him waste away for the rest of his life.

Upon his release from captivity, Ombrol learned that his parents had died poor and destitute. The baron had told them that their son had deserted them and their village, and he levied twice the standard taxes upon them as punishment for the young man's crimes. Upon learning their fate, Ombrol became sullen and angry. He returned to the house where he had been raised and began to drink heavily.

During this inebriated period, a voice began to speak to him, offering words of comfort and urging him toward revenge. It taught him to cultivate his hatred and focus his loathing until he could use the skills he had acquired in combat against people who were normally considered good and upstanding citizens. The voice belonged to none other than the demon prince Orcus, who sought to make the unhappy Ombrol his tool. Ombrol returned to the manor by stealth and slew the guards who still lived there, along with their families and the few members of Baron Holden's family that remained. Now a known killer, Ombrol went into hiding, but he was eventually tracked down and slain by the local militia.

But Ombrol was not to be allowed the peace of death. Orcus animated his lifeless husk of a body, transforming him into a death knight. He recruited the undead from the surrounding area into his service and used his fearsome army to conquer the manor house where he had once served the baron. Realizing that they had fallen under the control of a fearsome undead lord, the villagers quickly fled the area. Their dwellings eventually fell into disrepair, and the once verdant fields became choked with weeds. The death knight stayed in the manor, biding his time and occasionally ordering brutal attacks on people traveling through the area that he controlled.

And so matters remained for more than two hundred years. Recently, however, a young noble named Erim Holden came to the area with his entourage. A descendant of the baron's nephew and the last living descendant of Kaiius Holden, Erin sought to reclaim the family property. Upon realizing that only undead now inhabited the village, he left for the city to seek reinforcements. But Ombrol had seen Erim and instinctively recognized him as a relative of the hated baron. Lord Ombrol ordered his undead followers to attack the baron's men and take the noble alive. The undead slew many of Holden's guards, but Erim himself escaped to the city on horseback. Ombrol, intent on revenge, hired the Dragon's Fang mercenary company to help him deal with the living inhabitants of the city and locate the baron's nephew.

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